How to Garden in the Shade
Most gardeners have at least one difficult spot in their garden. One of the most challenging is the shade cast by buildings and trees. A shady spot can be difficult for plants as it creates a cool environment and is often coupled with dry soil or very damp soil. However there are many plants that will tolerate these conditions so those areas needn’t remain bare.
Shade in the garden is a double-edged sword. It can be cool and refreshing or it can be gloomy. Within the constraint of the green, there’s a wealth of shades and hues, as well as leaf textures. The big, bold leaves of hostas are workhorses of the shade garden. To brighten up a shady spot, choose a hosta variety with variegated leaves. For a contrast in leaf texture, give those hostas a backdrop of ferns.
No need to neglect flowers just because you have shade. Brighter colors are always welcome in the shade. Start the season with pastel colors of hellebore, the red, purple, or white blossoms peeking out from the bold, semi-evergreen foliage.
Pink Spring Garden
Alliums, English bluebells, and primroses put on a spring show in this garden. Hosta and a Japanese maple keep it looking good through fall. Garden size: 17 by 18 feet.
This mix of shrubs and perennials teams up to provide a large dose of color all season long. Garden size: 17 by 30 feet.
Formal Shady Garden
Dramatic tree-form hydrangeas create a striking contrast with foliage from hosta, lady's mantle, and ligularia. Garden size: 10 by 17 feet.
Shady Birdbath Garden
Surround a birdbath with colorful impatiens and polka-dot plants for color from late spring to fall. Garden size: 9 by 9 feet.
A handful of hostas, impatiens, and red-twig dogwood combine to create a natural-feeling planting with four-season interest. Garden size: 6 by 12 feet.
Container Collection for Shade
Use a host of coleus to create a stunning display without flowers. Your displays will be so dazzling you won't even notice there aren't blooms. Garden size: 10 by 12 feet.
Bright Container Garden Plan for Shady Spots
Do you have a shady deck, patio, porch, or front entrance? Never fear: This delightful trio of shade-loving container gardens will pump plenty of texture and color into any less-than-bright spot. The colorful coleus leaves look great all season long! Garden size: 8 by 14 feet.
Lush, Hosta-Filled Shade-Garden Plan
Hostas are the ultimate shade-garden plant. They come in a wide range of sizes, textures, and colors. Use our plan to mix a few of your favorites around a fountain and create a magical getaway perfect for those hot summer days. Garden size: 10 by 12 feet.
Colorful Garden Plan for Partial Shade
If your spot gets a bit of sun, you can have success with many sun-loving favorites. This garden plan combines just the right plants for those tough, in-between sunny and shady spots. Garden size: 8 by 13 feet.
Shady Haven Garden Plan
Enjoy your garden even on hot, sunny days. This shade garden, filled with lots of color and texture, will give you plenty to look at through the year. Garden size: 23 by 12 feet.
Colorful Spring Shade-Garden Plan
You don't need a ton of plants for a colorful garden. This simple, beautiful garden plan features only six different kinds of plants. These hardy, long-lived perennials will make a dramatic statement every spring. Garden size: 7 by 34 feet.
Pastel-Theme Shade-Garden Plan
Soft, light colors show up best in shade, so we've put together this plan of pastels to brighten dim spots in your landscape. Garden size: 4 by 8 feet.
Color and Texture with Foliage Shade-Garden Plan
Rely on plants with great foliage to create an eye-catching garden even without blooms. Garden size: 16 by 10 feet.
Shady Patio-Garden Plan
Dress up your yard by mixing plants with patio stones. This lush, easy-growing shade garden looks great through the seasons. Mixing the plantings gives the illusion of a big yard in a relatively small space. Garden size: 40 by 25 feet.